CIESIN Thematic Guides

Impact of Climate Change on Sea Level

At present, global warming is resulting in a rise in sea level, which is anticipated to cause continued erosion of beaches, submergence of shorelines, and raising of water tables. In Climate Change and World Agriculture, Parry (1990) states that sea-level rise will affect agriculture mainly through the inundation of low-lying farmland.

Parry, Magalhaes, and Nih (1992) show a rise in sea level of 10 to 30 cm (the current best estimate by 2030) could cause extensive damage to fish and prawn throughout Southeast Asia in "The Potential Socio-Economic Effects of Climate Change in South-East Asia." Mangrove forests, an important breeding ground for fish, could be threatened in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

In "Sea Level Rise Impact on African Coastal Zones," Ibe and Awosika (1991) predict that sea-level rise would aggravate the already existing ecological problems in African coastal zones through increased rates of coastal erosion, more persistent flooding, loss of wetlands, increased salinization of groundwater, and uprooting of human settlements.